February 18, 2011
This is definitely one of my favorite winter cakes. Every year, I watch our satsumas ripen and dream of this dessert. I invent reasons to gather with friends, just so I can share this cake. I am not to be trusted with this buttery, tangy, orange vanilla cake without many mouths with which to compete. It is that good. Make it quick, while satsuma mandarins are in peak season! This cake would be great with any tangerine or mandarin. We have an overabundance of satsumas so that is what I use.
Upside down cakes are a new thing for me. Nothing against the legendary pineapple upside-down cake, but it has never really captured my attention. To be honest, I have a hard time veering from chocolate when choosing a dessert to make, especially in the winter. This cake is so incredibly flavorful, moist, and buttery that I really don’t miss the cocoa (If someone has an idea of how to make this better by adding chocolate, please let me know. Though as is, I think it may be perfect.) Using real vanilla scraped from the pod infuses the cake with a serious dose of deliciousness.
To make this cake, start by thinly slicing the satsumas. It is easiest to use a mandoline, but if you don’t have one you can use a knife. Be sure to make the slices as even as possible. Blanch the satsuma slices and then dry on a cloth. Melt the butter, vanilla, and part of the sugar in the cake pan, then arrange the satsuma slices.
Gently layer on the cake batter and bake in the oven until the top is browned. This batter is fabulous with other toppings as well. I recently made a cranberry upside cake with this base and it turned out delicious! This cake is best eaten the day it is made. It is delicious the next day as well, but the top gets a bit moist.